3 Tips to Engage Members in Online Advocacy

February 13, 2019 at 4:03 PM

An online advocacy initiative is only as successful as the advocate engagement strategy motivating supporters to participate. Encouraging grassroots involvement requires an approach that speaks to supporters who may feel different levels of concern regarding the issue. For example, your organization likely has supporters who feel like their policy input doesn't matter and also advocates who have become evangelists through their constant contributions and support.  How does an association overcome this disconnect and motivate someone to participate in the legislative process? 

The key to successfully engaging members and supporters in grassroots efforts is in letting them know that their individual contributions shape the organization's advocacy influence. Each action a supporter takes enhances the overall impact of the online advocacy initiative. Here are three tips for effective membership-driven advocacy:

Make It Easy

Keeping your advocates engaged can present a challenge if you are asking that they go out of their way on a regular basis to let their voice be heard. Making advocacy easy for your members will increase engagement and make your organization more powerful and effective on the legislative scene. Simplicity does not imply ‘slacktivism’– check out this article on why we believe advocacy can be simple and powerful all at once. Equip Action Alerts with simple “Take Action” buttons and streamline your campaigns to maximize functionality and effectiveness. 

Make It Meaningful

Don’t demand action from your members and refrain from requesting participation without providing a reason for their support. Encourage and inspire your members to take an action that will benefit your mission and your memberships’ livelihood. It can be hard to empower your members to take action if they aren’t directly affected by a legislative issue, so it’s important to let your members know that their individual voices matter and are important for their community. Do your best to connect the policy or regulatory issue with the local community, their profession, the economy or other topics that members will be able to relate to. 

Make It Personal

Meaningful advocacy requires awareness. Encouraging your members to take action by empowering them to feel meaningful as an advocate is step one, but step two is to keep your members engaged and educated about legislative issues that concerns your association. Active advocates are passionate, interested, involved and care about the net impact of the legislation at hand. Keep your membership in the loop year-round about legislation that is on the table, and about new and exciting issues and/or events that are developing in your association’s field that affect them or their occupation. 

On a side note: if you haven’t yet read our articles about increasing open rates for advocacy alerts and getting your analytics where you want them, click here and here

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{Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.}